Juvenile - Frequently Asked Questions

    • Q. What is a Deferred Disposition?

      A deferred disposition is when the Court sets aside sentencing you to anything specific, such as a term of probation or incarceration for a period of time. If you receive a deferred disposition you will be assigned a probation officer who will help you successfully complete your conditions. You will have some contact with your probation officer in your home, at their office, or by phone. At the end of your deferred disposition term, your probation officer will update the court on how you have done. If you do not re-offend and complete your conditions, the complaint against you will be dismissed and you will not have to reappear in court. If you receive new charges or do not complete your conditions, you may have to return to court.

    • Q. Can I choose where I do my community service?

      No, your probation officer will provide guidance as to what approved places you can perform your community service at or provide other options.

    • Q. What is an "adjudication?"

      By law, a juvenile who commits an offense under the age of 18 cannot be "convicted;" they do not have a criminal record. However, the youth does go through a formal court process: they appear in court represented by a lawyer and a judge orders a final decision known as a disposition of the case. It is this final disposition that is called an "adjudication."

    • Q. What if I have a problem working with my probation officer?

      Probation officers are trained to work effectively with you and your family to help you successfully complete probation. Our customer service policies require our staff to treat our clients respectfully at all times. If you believe any probation staff are not reflecting these goals and policies, you can bring this to the attention of the probation supervisor, assistant chief probation officer or vicinage chief probation officer. Their names/contact information are made available during the Intake process.

    • Q. Are my juvenile probation records confidential/sealed?

      Juvenile court records are not sealed unless ordered by the court. Juvenile court records are not released without approval from you or by court order. However, by law, only juvenile charges are confidential, the final court order by the judge is not. This could allow information to legally be made available without your knowledge. In completing any applications, such as for jobs, college, financial aid or the military, questions about a Family Court record must be answered truthfully.

    • Q. What does it mean to be on Juvenile Probation?

      You will have to comply with all conditions of probation and anything the court may order. This includes having regular contact with your probation officer at their office and in your home; taking drug tests; attending school or getting employment; paying fines; getting permission to leave the state; following all laws; not having access to a weapon (including a paint ball gun); completing community service; going to treatment; and more things to help you succeed. You might also have the opportunity to participate in positive activities with your Probation Officer. You and your family will work with your Probation Officer on everything you need to complete and how you will do that.

    • Q. Can I travel out of the state or out of the country while on probation?

      Travel out of state needs permission of the probation officer based on compliance with Probation. A travel permit is needed for trips lasting longer than 24 hours. The needed information to process the travel permit must be given to the probation officer at least two weeks before when you plan to leave. Your parents/guardians must be available to sign the travel permit. Probation officers will submit requests for travel out of the country to the judge for approval.

    • Q. Will my probation officer contact my school?

      Probation officers work with the school principal or someone the principal assigns, as required by the laws of New Jersey. These contacts are to watch for changes in school attendance, behavior, and any problems with complying with Probation. Your probation officer may conduct visits at the school also.

    • Q. How can I get an expungement?

      Juvenile Records are not automatically erased, expunged or sealed at the end of the supervision term or when the youth reaches their 18th birthday. Expungement or sealing of the records is another court process that you would need to start. Contact your lawyer for further information.

    • Q. How can I get an Early Discharge from juvenile probation?

      An early discharge from Probation can be possible when your (or your child’s) performance has been acceptable and the following requirements have been met: All conditions of probation have been met. You are regularly making payment on your fines/fees. The case has been reviewed and approved by the vicinage chief probation officer or assistant chief probation officer. The judge provides approval.

    • Q. What happens if the rules of Probation are not followed? Is jail a possibility?

      Your probation officer will work with you on following the rules, however will also put sanctions in place. Sanctions can include more frequent reporting, having a curfew, writing an essay, or a review with a probation supervisor. At times a Violation of Probation (VOP) may need to be filed. A VOP is a new charge and will require legal representation. During a VOP you will be brought back in front of the judge and the judge can order new things including an extension of probation, specific services or placement in detention.

    • Q. What do I need to know about sexual offenses charges and Megan’s Law?

      Specially trained probation officers supervise youth who receive a sexual offense charge or have been placed on Megan’s Law. These probation officers are skilled in areas including Megan’s Law and are able to link you with specific resources you may need. Please ask your probation officer any questions you may have.

    • Q. Is Juvenile Probation different from Adult Probation?

      Juvenile cases are heard in the family division and adult cases are heard in the criminal division. Juvenile Probation officers work closely with the youth, families, schools, and other supports/services to help the youth in making positive changes and successfully completing their probation term.

    • Q. What do I do if I cannot pay my fines?

      Discuss with your probation officer. Your probation officer can provide resources to gain employment or request the judge to change a payment plan